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The Basics of Baccarat

Baccarat is, in some ways, similar to blackjack. Both have an end goal to reach a certain total, or as close to it as you can. Despite that, some key differences make them different. Between the two, baccarat is undoubtedly the simpler title. It uses less numbers, and does not have any special cases like blackjack does.

If you are looking to try your luck at table games, Loyal Casino has a fantastic selection available for you. You can even give baccarat a try, whether you decide for the live version, or the regular online one. No matter your choice, our basics of baccarat guide will teach you how to play. So lean back, relax, and get ready to the baccarat boss!

The Game

Baccarat is usually played with 14 people. Live games may lower that number, and often do, in our experiences. After all, casinos will often want to keep their lobbies full and engaged. For easier explanations, we will be discussing the single player version. Rest assured, all the information is applicable for live versions, too.

Let’s begin with the very basics. Both the player and dealer draw cards. Both are trying to reach number 9, or as close to number 9, without going over. While this is going on, you (and other players) place bets on who will win. You can pick the banker (always the dealer in non-live games), the player, or it can be a draw. Guessing correctly means you win, picking wrong is a loss. Simple stuff!

Most newer online baccarat games automatically track the total for you. We do believe you should know how to do it yourself, though. The system is quite simple in how it work.
Aces count as 1 and numbers 2 to 9 amount to their face value. Ten, jacks, queen and kings are all worth 10 – or 0, in this case. Since all the cards in the deck are used, this means you can go over 9. When that happens, the score loops back around, and you return to 0.

As an example, say first draw the Queen, and then the number 4. Your total score will not be 14. Instead, it will be 4, because Queen is a bigger number than 9, and therefore counts as 0. Once you get used to this mechanic, it is very simple to work around it.
Also unlike blackjack, players do not decide themselves whether they draw or hold. That is solely determined by the current sum of their cards.
A regular round of baccarat will usually go down like this:

Before any cards are drawn, all players set their chips on the person who they think will win. That can be the player, the banker, or it can be a draw.

  • The player draws his cards, then the banker follows suit.
  • If either player or banker have an 8, or 9, they get a natural hand. The number closest to 9 wins, the round ends, and all bets are paid.
  • However, if both player and banker have the same number of points, a tie-breaker is played.
  • If the player has the number 6 or 7, he automatically stands. Otherwise, a third card is added to the player’s hand, and then he is forced to stand.
  • The banker also draws a third card. The numbers are compared again, and the one closer to 9 wins. If it happens to be another draw, then only people who called it ahead of time will win a prize.

If you want to know which one of the three bets is the best for you, it depends what you are after. Betting on the banker’s victory is the safest one, with the smallest house win advantage. Meanwhile, betting that it will be a draw pays the best, but happens quite rarely. Choosing player is slightly more risky than picking the banker, but not by much.

The Variations

There are a few alternate rulesets for baccarat. Not as many as for blackjack, mind you, but still enough to give it a little variety.
Currently at Loyal Casino’s live section, you can choose to play Speed Baccarat. It remains the same in terms of gameplay, but makes some alterations to speed up each round. All cards are dealt face up, and the time for results is kept to a minimum.

If you are looking for actual gameplay changes, there are a few eligible contenders. The most noticeable is Chemin de Fer, the French version of baccarat. Here, players take turns being the banker, and the choice of whether to draw a third card rests with the gambler. Another one that we see semi-frequently in casinos is Punto Bunco. All the control rests with the dealer – players cannot choose whether to draw a third card. This version is usually the one online versions of baccarat copy.